Unterstützung für die Erforschung menschlicher embryonaler Stammzellen

Die meisten Zellen in unserem Körper haben eine nur kurze Lebensdauer und müssen eine ganz bestimmte Arbeit verrichten. Stammzellen, die in den verschiedensten Organen von der Haut bis zum Knochenmark gefunden werden können, sind da anders. Die „Vorgänger“ gewöhnlicher Zellen können sich selbst unendlich ersetzen. Mit den richtigen biochemischen Signalen ausgestattet sind diese Zellen – sobald die Notwendigkeit dazu besteht – dazu in der Lage, sich aufzuteilen und sich in eine ganze Fülle verschiedener Zelltypen zu transformieren.

Eine solche Vielseitigkeit bedeutet, dass Stammzellen das Potential besitzen, beschädigte Organgewebe zu regenerieren, und erstaunliche neue Behandlungsmöglichkeiten für eine Spektrum gegenwärtig verheerender Krankheiten liefern könnten. In der Tat könnten es Stammzellen den Menschen unter Umständen ermöglichen, „neue Organe zu züchten“ oder erkrankte Organe zu ersetzen und dadurch die Möglichkeit neuer Formen von auf Zellen basierender Therapien schaffen.

Auf der Grundlage der Untersuchung vergleichbarer Zellen von Mäusen stellen Wissenschaftler sich vor, dass Stammzellen beispielsweise dazu verwendet werden könnten, das Knochenmark von Patienten zu ersetzen, die an Krebs leiden, oder Bauchspeicheldrüsen-Zellen zu produzieren, um Diabetes zu lindern; desweiteren könnten neuronale Zellen produziert werden, um die Parkinson-Krankheit, Alzheimer und verschiedene Gehirn- und Rückenmarksstörungen zu behandeln.

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